For the first time in nearly three years, Hyatt is reshuffling hotels between award categories, meaning some properties will soon cost more – or fewer – points for a free night. And it's bad news for your World of Hyatt points.
Hyatt is one of the best hotel chains out there because the amount of points you need to snag a free room is so reasonable. On Monday, Hyatt unveiled its latest round of changes: Award rates at 70 Hyatt properties will increase, while they'll decrease at 76 locations. But those numbers obscure some truly bad news, including increases at some of the most sought-after, high-end properties in the U.S. and around the globe.
Fortunately, these changes won't take effect until March 22 at 8 a.m. CST. That means you've got more than a month to lock in a future stay at some of these properties before the price increases. On the flip side, Hyatt will refund members who book at any of the 76 locations before the price decreases.
Let's break down what's on tap – and why it's such a bummer for using Hyatt points or even free night certificates from the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card.
What is Changing?
Hyatt sets the number of points you need to book a free night based on an award chart, divided up into eight different categories. That's good:
If you want to book a standard room at a Hyatt category 5 hotel, it will cost you 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night. With the introduction of peak and off-peak pricing rolled out last year starting for stays March 22 and onward, the timing of your stay could change that rate.
And as Hyatt reshuffles properties across categories, it could also cost more (or fewer) points to book a night at the same hotel than it does today. Here's a look at Hyatt's award chart.
With 146 properties on the move, there's a lot to unpack. Hyatt notes that only one property will shift by more than one category – up or down.
But we'll highlight some of the changing properties that stand out. And one change stands out more than most.
Top Properties Jump to Category 8
While Hyatt has eight categories for award rates, Hyatt-branded properties have never gone higher than Category 7, or 30,000 points per night. That final tier was reserved for boutique properties and resorts that were part of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH).
But now that's changing.
Come March 22, a handful of top Hyatt properties will move from Category 7 up to Category 8, including many of the most sought-after Hyatt hotels. That means award rates for a standard stay will increase from 30,000 per night to 40,000 per night – and during peak times, you could pay as much as 45,000 points per night.
That list includes Park Hyatts at home and abroad, top Alila resorts, and more, including:
- Alila Ventana Big Sur, perhaps the single most aspirational (and difficult to book) property in Hyatt's portfolio
- Alila Napa Valley
- Park Hyatt New York
- Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort
- Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme
- Park Hyatt Milan
- Park Hyatt Sydney
- Park Hyatt Kyoto
- Park Hyatt Niseko Hanazono
Ouch. That's a 33% increase in how many points you'll need to book each of these properties. Add in the fact that some of these properties may cost 45,000 for a peak night booking starting late next month, and it's a 50% increase. For top Hyatt road warriors, these properties also will no longer be bookable with a category 1-7 free night certificate.
Remember: These new rates don't take effect until March 22. That means you can lock in a stay now at the current 30,000-point rate for a standard night stay, even for a reservation far in the future. You can book most Hyatt properties up to two full calendar years in advance.
Other Hyatt Hotels on the Rise
While award rate increases at those top-tier properties may sting the most, the pain continues as roughly 60 other properties are also going up.
It's most acute at properties that are increasing from a Category 4 to a Category 5, as that means they'll no longer be bookable with free night certificates from the Chase World of Hyatt Credit Card. Each year on your cardmember anniversary, you get a certificate for a free night to use at Hyatt properties, but only those from category 1-4 property. You can also earn these certificates through the Hyatt Brand Explorer program.
A handful of properties no longer fall in that range, including:
- Gild Hall, a Thompson Hotel in New York City
- The Confidante Miami Beach
- Park Hyatt Istanbul
- Park Hyatt Zanzibar
- Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course in Monterey, California
There are other properties on that rise that won't affect how you can use up those certificates, but will still cost you more points to book.
- The Hyatt Place Moab jumps from a Category 2 to Category 4, the only two-category jump which means award rates go from 8,000 points to 15,000 points for a standard night stay
- The Hyatt Regency Tokyo has been a bargain in Japan's capital city, but it goes up from 12,000 points per night to 15,000 points per night
- The Hyatt House Washington D.C. / The Wharf is also jumping up to 15,000 points per night during standard season
- Chicago's historic Ambassador Hotel will jump to 15,000 points per night
- Thompson Central Park New York goes from a Category 5 to Category 6, raising award rates from 20,000 points to 25,000 points per night
Hyatt Hotels Getting Cheaper
It's not all bad news: Some Hyatt properties are getting cheaper.
Scan through the list of brewing award chart changes and you'll see most of the properties set to get cheaper are in Asia and Africa – no doubt because the slowdown in travel over the last two years means fewer Hyatt members have been booking these hotels. Here are some highlights:
- The Alila Ubud in Bali will be bookable for just 8,000 points per night when it bumps down to a Category 2 property, a bargain for a fantastic resort.
- The Grand Hyatt Bali in Nusa Dua will drop to just 5,000 points per night as a Category 1 hotel, as will the Alila Manggis on Bali's eastern coast and the Hyatt Regency Bali near Denpasar.
- The Andaz Delhi drops to just 8,000 points per night, making it among the least-expensive Andaz properties in Hyatt's portfolio
- The Hyatt Regency Amsterdam drops to Category 4, meaning it can be booked with a free night certificate or just 15,000 points per night
- The Hyatt Place Across from Universal Orlando Resort can soon be booked for 8,000 points per night, making it an even more budget-friendly option for Florida.
What This Means
In just a few words: It means you may want to lock in a Hyatt stay using your points sooner rather than later.
Hotels update their category lists all the time – or do much worse, as we've seen with Hilton over the years. Marriott will soon begin to do away with award charts altogether. In comparison, these changes from Hyatt are much more palatable – especially with more than a month warning.
But especially when it comes to some of the most sought-after Hyatt properties, some of these changes are tough to swallow. You've got until March 22 to book one of these properties before award rates increase – and we suggest you take advantage.
Hyatt allows you to book up to two years in advance. Combined with the fact that you've got more than a month before the new rates kick in, that's a long window to lock something in at a cheaper rate before the increase. Hyatt allows free cancellation of award stays so long as you cancel at least 48 hours in advance.
Even if you don't have World of Hyatt points, you can easily earn them as Hyatt is one of several Chase transfer partners – in fact, it's one of the best. You can transfer points from Chase Ultimate Rewards straight to your Hyatt account on a 1:1 basis. That means the 60,000-point bonus on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card could net you 60,000 Hyatt points.
Click Here to get more information about the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card.
Remember: There's no harm in booking now. You can snag a free night at a property before it goes up in price, while Hyatt will refund you if the rate drops. Just be sure to lock in these better rates before March 22.
If you've got Hyatt points and travel plans, what are you waiting for? Make sure to check out how this brewing list of category changes affects your upcoming travel, and book before March 22 to get the best deal.
Despite this saying Hyatt lets you book up to 2 years in advance, every property I’ve tried limits you to 13 months 🙁